Inheritance Disputes Rise Due to Complex Family Dynamics

Inheritance Disputes Rise Due to Complex Family Dynamics

Inheritance Disputes Rise Due to Complex Family Dynamics

Inheritance disputes can cause permanent rifts within family units, even if, once upon a time, that unit felt strong. When grief and anxiety combine, it can lead to some big fallouts – particularly if different family members feel they were promised, or have more of a right to, certain assets.

Writing a will feels complicated enough – but you can avoid family disputes over inheritance. Here’s what you need to understand about the growing issue, and how to avoid it impacting your family.

Why are they rising?

Inheritance Disputes Rise

A recent article published in the FInancial Times reports that the number of inheritance disputes in England’s courts almost doubled between 2016 and 2023. It’s an issue caused by multiple factors. The traditional nuclear family model isn’t as common. Instead, we are seeing more and more intricate familial networks that include mixed families with stepchildren, half-siblings, unmarried life partners, and everything in between.

Plus, there’s more to dispute over – especially as people are living longer and accumulating more wealth as a result. There are now digital assets like cryptocurrencies and high-value online accounts but, without the right guidance, these aspects are forgotten about. Thus, disputes arise.

What people are realising is that estates are growing. Individuals are struggling to allocate possessions, finances, property, businesses. But, with so many UK adults failing to draft a proper will, the door is left open for a lot of heartache.

What’s the impact?

Inheritance disputes will have an impact, and they’re common. There’s the potential for more costs as your loved ones turn to will dispute solicitors, and a longer wait until probate is granted. As a result, the emotional toll can be significant. You and your family members can experience unnecessary stress and anxiety. And, under the circumstances, it can delay mourning.

It’s a situation you can prevent when writing your will and the time after. Plus, there’s the potential for all of this to happen without you present. Put things in place beforehand.

What can be done to prevent It?

Preventing inheritance disputes

Preventing inheritance disputes means being proactive when writing your will and in the years after it. That includes:

  1. Regularly redrafting your will: Life events like births, deaths, marriages, and divorces can change your will. Remember to redraft it with your solicitor as and when a new version is needed.
  2. Clear communication: Be open and honest about what’s in your will. It can help people understand your demands and what you’ve left to whom.
  3. Manage expectations: Manage people’s expectations by using clear communication – the two go hand-in-hand. For example, some family members might think they’re entitled to more because your bond is closer. If that isn’t the case, make it known.
  4. Seeking professional advice: You should always seek professional advice. Writing a will is too complex to be done alone.
  5. Considering family dynamics: Understanding complex family relationships can help tailor a will in the best way to prevent disputes.
  6. Using mediation: Mediation can be effective. It can resolve conflicts without resorting to costly legal battles. But family mediation isn’t always easy with emotions involved.

Addressing these factors can significantly reduce the likelihood of disputes. It’ll safeguard the will, the family relationship, and additional costs.

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